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student support


Our counselling service is available to help and support you whilst you are studying with us. We recognise that you should have an interesting, fulfilling and rewarding experience and realise that there may be times when you may need support.

Counselling offers a confidential space to talk and think through any personal difficulties with a trained professional. Many people find it helpful to do this with someone who is not a friend or family member. Counselling does not involve giving advice but can help you gain insight into your issues and help you develop unused skills and resources. Your counsellor can work with you to help you make decisions and changes that can develop your emotional resilience, enabling you to fulfil your academic, vocational and personal potential.

How to book and contact us

Information on how to book an appointment and speak to our team can be found on the Counselling Service page on ELITE in the Health and Wellbeing section for your campus.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can talk to a counsellor about anything that is important to you or any personal concerns that arise while you are at the University. Some of the issues brought to counselling include:

  • Relationship and family difficulties
  • Depression / anxiety / stress
  • Alcohol and drug addictions
  • Eating difficulties
  • Academic issues
  • Loneliness
  • Homesickness
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Suicidal and self-harming thoughts
  • Loss and bereavement
  • Confidence and self esteem
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Sexual and personal identity issues
  • Work related issues

Our counselling service adheres to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s Ethical Framework which informs confidentiality. In the first instance, all information is confined within the counselling service. However in some rare situations, a counsellor may need to break confidentiality such as when someone is at risk of harm or in other rare circumstances. Our counselling service will endeavour to seek consent to break confidentiality, however if this is not possible, information may be passed on to appropriate third parties. Furthermore, as the counselling service is one part of a wider student support provision within the University and works alongside these services to ensure an efficient service to clients, it may be necessary to liaise with these services and share information on a need to know basis.

If you are thinking of harming yourself or your situation is urgent, please go to A&E at your local hospital immediately. You can also contact your GP for an emergency appointment and/or Samaritans on 116 123.

In the first instance, please contact the Welfare Advisor at your campus by emailing welfare-(campus) (e.g. for Birmingham, email [email protected]; for the London campuses, email [email protected])

If you need to talk to someone in an emergency, you can contact:

Mental health is defined as “the emotional and spiritual resilience which enables us to enjoy life and to survive pain, disappointment and sadness. It is a positive sense of wellbeing and an underlying belief in our own and others’ dignity and self-worth” (HEA, 1998).

Mental health exists across a continuum from positive mental health to mental illness. Everyone has the capacity to move between these states. This can involve a spectrum of symptoms involving thoughts, feelings and behaviours. These states of mind can range from temporary responses to painful events through to more debilitating and persistent conditions.

It is important to note that many of us experience some of the symptoms of mental health difficulties at some points in our lives and indeed some are typical reactions to a range of common life events. The degree of severity is reflected by:

  • the intensity in symptoms
  • the duration of these symptoms
  • the impact on the individual’s capacity to function.

One in four people will experience some sort of mental health difficulty in their lifetime, particularly during stressful times like starting university or leaving home.

Mental health can include anything that affects your wellbeing such as anxiety and depression, as well as more severe states of mind and behaviours. If you feel you are experiencing a mental health condition, there is a lot of support available at the University. There are also things you can do to help yourself.

Our counselling service produces a range of information leaflets on various topics and issues, which can be downloaded on ELITE.

The series of self-help books by Overcoming cover more than 30 common mental health difficulties.

Our students can also access free online support through Together All. The service provides 24/7 online peer and professional support, with trained counsellors. Together All provides a safe space online to get things off your chest, explore your feelings and learn how to improve and self-manage your mental health and wellbeing. It is totally anonymous, so no one will know you’ve chosen to use it unless you tell them.

Information on how to register with Together All can be found on the counselling service page on ELITE in the Health and Wellbeing section.

Practical tips for good mental health:

  • Keep physically active
  • Eat healthy meals
  • Register with a GP
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Value yourself and others
  • Talk about your feelings
  • Keep in touch with friends and loved ones
  • Care for others
  • Get involved and make a contribution
  • Learn new skills
  • Do something creative
  • Take a break
  • Ask for help

The Counselling Service is committed to supporting students from ethnic minority backgrounds, which means that in additional to having cultural competence, our counsellors acknowledge the reality of racism and racist oppression in our society and recognise the impact of racism on mental health. The Counselling Service works to ensures every student feels welcome and in a manner that is sensitive and responsive to their diversity. If you have a strong preference to see a BAME counsellor, please let us know and we can arrange an initial appointment and discuss further therapeutic options at that stage.

Useful links

Samaritans - Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
T: 116 123 (24-hour helpline)

Together All - Online supportive community for those who are stressed, anxious, low or not coping. Information on how to register with Together All can be found on the Counselling Service page on ELITE in the Health and Wellbeing section.

Rethink Mental Illness - Support and advice for people living with mental illness.
T: 0300 5000 927

Depression Alliance - Charity for sufferers of depression. Has a network of self-help groups.

Students Against Depression - Offers advice, support and workbooks to help students tackle depression in their lives.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) - For men aged 15-35.

Sane - Charity offering support and carrying out research into mental illness.
T: 0845 767 8000 (daily, 6pm-11pm)
E: [email protected]

Mind - Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
T: 0300 123 3393

Mental Health Foundation - Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.

National Self Harm Network - Offers support, empowerment and education about self-harm.

NHS 111 - Offers 24 hour medical advice and information.
T: 111

No Panic - Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and OCD. Offers a course to help overcome your phobia/OCD. Includes a helpline.
T: 0800 138 8889

OCD UK - A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments.
T: 0845 120 3778

Anxiety UK - Charity providing support if you've been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
T: 08444 775 774

Time to Change - Challenging stigma around mental health issues through empowerment, open discussion and media campaigns. Excellent blog posts and real life stories.

YoungMinds - Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.
T: Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544

PAPYRUS - Young suicide prevention society.
T: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141

Students against Depression - Self-help resource for suicidal thinking and depression

Lawcare - Advisory and support service to help lawyers with various issues
T: 0800 279 6888
E: [email protected]

Refuge - Advice on dealing with domestic violence.
T: 0808 2000 247

Alcoholics Anonymous
T: 0845 769 7555

Narcotics Anonymous
T: 0300 999 1212

Gamblers Anonymous

Cruse Bereavement Care
T: 0844 477 9400

Rape Crisis
T: 0808 802 9999